Thursday, October 13, 2016

Exploring Spain with My Children


This post is part of Multicultural Kid Blogs' Hispanic Heritage Month series. Be sure you don't miss the INCREDIBLE giveaways at the bottom of this post!

You may have noticed that I had a lot of guest posts here on MommyMaestra over the last few weeks. That's because, for the first time in 11 years, my husband and I took our kids to Europe. He had a conference in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium that he had to attend, and I JUMPED at the opportunity to go a week early so that we could visit my family in Spain. 

Do you have family that lives far away? The visit to Spain was probably the most important thing to me this entire year. It's been 11 years since I last visited. My daughter was only a year and a half and I was pregnant with my son. Before last month, my father had never met my son, his only grandson. My daughter had been too little the last time we were there to remember anything about it. So they only "knew" their abuelo from a few photos and Facebook messages. 

So we saved and planned then saved some more to make the trip a reality. And although we will be paying off this trip for a little while, this one week of time spent with my family is one my children will never forget. They had the opportunity to experience the beauty of Spain - it's culture, food, architecture, landscape, and language. 

My father was eager to share the beauty of his country with his grandchildren. Together we walked the cobblestone streets of his town, peering into shops and admiring the beautiful details that families add to the front of their homes. My son was over the moon to discover the candy/ice cream shop on the plaza that opens each afternoon when school lets out. Both kids were less than thrilled with their tostada Catalán for breakfast...they preferred the CHURROS!!  And both my kids marveled at the number of beds and bedrooms in my Tías house, which used to be my grandparents' home where I spent time in the summer as a child. "You could sleep 30 people in this house!" my daughter exclaimed. And we often did when I was little. 



A s luck would have it, one of my cousins was getting married. I was delighted when I heard about it because I knew that meant that I'd be able to see most of my extended family and introduce them to my children. However, the wedding took place in Zaragoza, which is quite a ways from my dad's home in southern Spain. So in the space of a week, we rode on board the bullet train three times to my son's extreme delight.



Zaragoza itself is a beautiful city. My cousin got married in the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Pilar, a truly remarkable cathedral, whose beauty I cannot possibly do justice in this post. It is reported to be the first church in history dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Inside, gold glitters everywhere. Your footsteps echo on the marble floors, and my children stared at the murals on the vaulted ceilings. Nine chapels line the walls, each a miniature testimony to the wealth of the Catholic church at that time. But my favorite piece is the single, stained-glass window...


And the outside is just as breathtaking as the inside with its multiple cupolas and towers.



The wedding itself was a very formal affair and my kids giggled at the elaborate hats worn by the women who attended. At one point during the reception, my daughter said, "I feel like I'm on Downton Abbey." (My cousins were highly amused - who knew they were Downton Abbey fans in Spain, too?) Shortly thereafter, my kids were whisked away to the children's table, where they were watched over by a nanny, who kept the kids busy playing all sorts of games while the adults went inside to eat. I'm pretty sure my kids had a good time because, by the end, my son looked like this...


The trip is one my children will always remember and it came with valuable life lessons. They discovered that when it comes to family, time and distance mean absolutely nothing. They were showered in hugs and kisses from people they didn't know. When someone loves you so much, so sincerely, it's hard not to love them back. And the joy my family showed upon our arrival made a huge impression on my kids. 

The experience has cemented the bond between my children and their Spanish heritage. What's more, it has provided the motivation my kids need to continue learning Spanish. 

Hispanic Heritage Month Series 2016 | Multicultural Kid Blogs
We are so excited for our FIFTH annual Hispanic Heritage Month series and giveaway! Through the month (September 15 - October 15), you'll find great resources to share Hispanic Heritage with kids, plus you can enter to win in our great giveaway and link up your own posts on Hispanic Heritage!

October 11 Kid World Citizen
October 12 MommyMaestra
Don't miss all of the great posts from previous years as well: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway!

Giveaway begins September 14 and goes through October 14, 2016.
Enter below for a chance to win one of these amazing prize packages! Some prizes have shipping restrictions. In the event that a winner lives outside the designated shipping area, that prize will then become part of the following prize package. For more information, read our full giveaway rules.
Grand Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway

Grand Prize

-Month of free access to online Spanish home learning program from Calico Spanish -If You Were Me and Lived in... series, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Portugal books from Carole P. Roman US Shipping Only -Spark important conversations about diversity, inclusivity and acceptance with award-winning Barefoot Books! Collection includes Barefoot Books World Atlas, The Barefoot Book of Children, Children of the World Memory Game, The Great Race, Mama Panya's Pancakes, Off We Go to Mexico, Up and Down the Andes, We all Went on Safari, We're Sailing Down the Nile, We're Sailing to Galapagos US & Canada Shipping Only -Aquí Allá CD from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band US Shipping Only -Animales CD from 123 Andrés US Shipping Only -Best of the Bowl CD from Hot Peas 'N Butter US Shipping Only -Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (hard cover), El fútbol me hace feliz by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Lauren Castillo (paperback), Blankie/Mantita by Leslie Patricelli (board book) from Candlewick Press US & Canada Shipping Only -A Child's Life in the Andes e-book plus music CD from Daria Music -Hola Hello CD with lyrics in digital format from Mariana Iranzi -T-shirt of choice (or equal value $18) from Ellie Elote US Shipping Only -Scarves, coin purse and painted wood bracelets from Nicaragua, and a map puzzle of Central America from Spanish Playground US Shipping Only -Latin GRAMMY-winning album Los Animales from Mister G US Shipping Only
1st Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway

First Prize

-If You Were Me and Lived in... series, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Portugal books from Carole P. Roman US Shipping Only -Aquí Allá CD from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band US Shipping Only -Animales CD from 123 Andrés US Shipping Only -Best of the Bowl CD from Hot Peas 'N Butter US Shipping Only -Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (hard cover), El fútbol me hace feliz by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Lauren Castillo (paperback), Blankie/Mantita by Leslie Patricelli (board book) from Candlewick Press US & Canada Shipping Only -Hola Hello CD with lyrics in digital format from Mariana Iranzi -T-shirt of choice (or equal value $18) from Ellie Elote US Shipping Only -Scarves, coin purse and painted wood bracelets from Nicaragua, and a map puzzle of Central America from Spanish Playground US Shipping Only -Olinguito, from A to Z! (bilingual) by Lulu Delacre, Rafi and Rosi by Lulu Delacre, Mamá the Alien (bilingual) y René Colato Laínez and illustrated by Laura Lacámara, Marisol MacDonald and the Monster (bilingual) by Monica Brown from Lee & Low Books US Shipping Only -Ecuador Themed International Cooking Box from Global Gastronauts US Shipping Only -Ora de Despertar Ladino Children's Music CD from Sarah Aroeste Hard copy if US winner; digital if international winner -T-shirt of choice from Mundo Lanugo US Shipping Only -Latin GRAMMY-winning album Los Animales from Mister G US Shipping Only
2nd Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway

Second Prize

-If You Were Me and Lived in... series, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Portugal books from Carole P. Roman US Shipping Only -Aquí Allá CD from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band US Shipping Only -Animales CD from 123 Andrés US Shipping Only -Best of the Bowl CD from Hot Peas 'N Butter US Shipping Only -Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (hard cover), El fútbol me hace feliz by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Lauren Castillo (paperback), Blankie/Mantita by Leslie Patricelli (board book) from Candlewick Press US & Canada Shipping Only -Hola Hello CD with lyrics in digital format from Mariana Iranzi -T-shirt of choice (or equal value $18) from Ellie Elote US Shipping Only -Scarves, coin purse and painted wood bracelets from Nicaragua, and a map puzzle of Central America from Spanish Playground US Shipping Only -Culture Chest with the theme "Dancing in September" for Hispanic Heritage Month. Includes bilingual books Tito Puente, Mambo King and Me llamo Celia Cruz, both by Monica Brown and Rafael Lopez US Shipping Only -Spanish Alphabet Print (US Shipping Only) and single-use promo code for Spanish for kids language app from Gus on the Go -Latin GRAMMY-winning album Los Animales from Mister G US Shipping Only

Bonus Prize

Piñata de Laly | Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway
Piñata from Piñatas de Laly Europe & US Shipping Only
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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